Parkinson's disease is a progressive neurological disorder which is characterized by a degenerative process in a brain area called substantia nigra. The main disorder is associated with a decrease in the amount of dopamine. It is an important neurotransmitter involved in the transmission of information between nerve cells. The three main symptoms of the disease are tremor while in a state of rest, stiffness, and slowness of movement. The fourth sign that occurs with the progression of the disease is instability of the posture. It is possible that gastrointestinal disorders, blood pressure, depression, insomnia and other functional disorders may occur. As the disease progresses, the tremor intensifies to the extent that the patients are unable to perform their daily activities.
Parkinson's disease is considered to be among the incurable diseases. To alleviate the symptoms, a combination of drugs, psychotherapy, physiotherapy and neurosurgery is applied. A new revolutionary method for treating Parkinson's disease is HIFU therapy. Using focussed ultrasound affects a key center deep in the brain, resulting in a stop to the tremor. The procedure is completely non-invasive, harmless, without anesthesia while the patient is fully conscious and the results are monitored in real time. The procedure takes about 4 hours and requires only 2 days of hospitalization. Although at this stage the impact of the therapy is unilateral (the dominant part is chosen), stopping the tremor dramatically improves the patient's quality of life.
Compared to deep brain stimulation, focused ultrasound is a single procedure, and does not require subsequent procedures/visits to replace batteries, repair broken wires, or adjust simulator settings. It also does not involve the collateral damage to healthy tissue or the risk of infections associated with implanting a foreign body.
The ExAblate system manufactured by InSightec is approved in Europe for treating tremor-dominant Parkinson's disease. The countries that apply this method are Spain, Italy, Switzerland and Israel.
For more information and treatment: HURSAMED